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Pangloss

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Everything posted by Pangloss

  1. We were discussing Sarah Palin, not the Tea Party movement. I disagree with the TPM over states rights. President Obama certainly supports fiscal responsibility and the Constitution. My problems with this administration are strictly issues-based, not ideological. You're missing it, jackson. Great, then you should have no trouble showing us a few quotes that indicate immoderate positions. Here's one that does the opposite: How would you interpret that quote, jackson? Please, tell me all about how this is an example of a staunch ideologue appealing to a radical base, just like Sarah Palin.
  2. Interesting term. Here are some other categories that no doubt exist: "Playstation Poor" "HDTV Healthcareless" "Xbox Unemployed" "BMW-leasing 99ers" "iPad Homeless"
  3. The U.S. Census Bureau. http://www.scienceforums.net/index.php?showtopic=52710&view=findpost&p=581782 Wups, guess I'll have to scratch the flat-screen TV. Gee.
  4. Fulfilling "basic needs" is not a hardship for the average American living under the poverty line. They have a VCR, DVD, flat-screen TV, two cars, a mortgaged roof over their heads, and so on and so on and so on. If we actually knew how many people in this country actually did live below a line that could reasonable by called "poverty" then we might be able to address that situation fairly in the tax system. But instead we find it more important to inflate the number for political reasons. Fine. But the cost of that is that we don't know that a flat tax would be unfair to lower income earners. I agree, and I would enact laws limiting deductions to only those passed by majority vote on solo bills without ANY amendments.
  5. That's fine, but the date of his book shows him appealing to moderates in the same time frame that Palin is failing to do so. Exactly. Of course you don't think so, but you're not one of the moderates who will determine the next president. We won't be voting for Sarah Palin. BTW, if Sarah Palin were to become President she would have to represent liberals and progressives and members of the media too. That means listening to their concerns, finding common ground, and implementing solutions that assuage the majority (NOT her base). That's the job. And she's shown zero sign of being capable of it, even to the extent of deliberately insulting large swaths of the American voting public. So she will never be President.
  6. When vaguely phrased that way, the point is extremely debatable. Actually the Audacity of Hope was published in 2006. That entire book is an appeal to moderates. Note that I'm not accusing Palin of using inappropriate rhetoric. What I'm accusing her of is throwing herself at the the base. Yes, all candidates push appeal to base during this phase. The difference is that Sarah Palin has pushed it so far that in my opinion she will never be able to capture any respect or interest from the moderate middle. None. It's not a statement of fact, it's just my opinion. You're certainly welcome to think otherwise.
  7. John's very honest about stuff like that; I wouldn't read anything into it. Sometimes I have a hard time following your train of thought as well. Usually worth the effort, though, as you often have something interesting to say. Might help if you broke up your paragraphs a bit more? Just a suggestion, though (I've seen a lot worse).
  8. Even if there are X people dying, and, and in other countries the figure is something like X/10, or even X/2, this should tell us something, if we should taken it in context with other arguments. Additional regulations seem reasonable to me. The real problem with this issue is defining the right outcome. Let's say for the sake of argument that we cut gun deaths in this country by a massive amount, and also learned scientifically that 99% of the remainder turned out to be recent prison escapees pointing a loaded weapon at a child, taken down by the homeowner with a registered firearm. Even in that extreme example we still would not be done with the gun debate in this country, because of that 1%. The next preteen finding a loaded weapon that daddy forgot to lock up and blowing away his future childhood sweetheart sends us right back to Square One.
  9. Of course. Which is why the modern states' rights debate is about gray areas and differences of degree, not unilateral, ideological posturing. Put another way, the phrase should never come up, because whether or not an issue should be controlled at the state or federal level is not something that we can determine by hollering "states' rights". That phrase doesn't open a reasoned debate, it only accuses an opponent of incomprehension, and inaccurately at that. It implies that no other argument can be reasonable because the founders meant for that thing (whatever's being debated) to be controlled at the state level, when in fact they don't know that at all. Not that you would know this from listening to Fox News or MSNBC, or the right or left wing punditsphere. This is a big part of why Sarah Palin will never be elected President of the United States, by the way. The other major component being that that constant attack mode of hers gives her about as much sex appeal as a shriveled old shrew. Hillary Clinton has more sex appeal falling down on airplane ramps than Sarah Palin when she's pontificating about the evil of liberals. But I digress.
  10. Okay, let's talk about how the concept of states' rights made out in the Civil War. Seems to me that, as a check against federal power, IT LOST, for that time and forever after. According to Ken Burns, the Civil War made us begin to refer to the this country as a singular noun. Prior to the war people would say "the united states are going to ________". After the war it became "the United States is going to _____". The country decided that states would NOT be allowed to determine a course substantially different from the rest of the country. Add to that the irony that modern states' rights advocates don't have the support of the people. Oh sure, people will toss the phrase around whenever the federal government does something they disagree with, but then they'll demand federal intervention when a state does something they disagree with. Popular opinion on such lofty ideological concepts is as fickle as Sarah Palin's grasp of politics. So the precedent, using the Civil War as an example of the fight for states' rights, is pretty untenable.
  11. The underlying issue behind that long series of incidents, known as the Nullification Crisis, was slavery. Slavery is why the North and South were split over the tariff issue. The tariffs, designed to favor manufacturing companies in the North, actually harmed the South, which provided 80% of Europe's cotton. Europe produced finished garments and shipped them back to the States for sale, but under a 40% tariff, that meant slower sales. And the underlying foundation of the cotton industry was slavery. Thus, the underlying cause of the tariff crises was slavery. Because of the draft. That's why they're called the Draft Riots of 1863. It's true that, in that place at that time, white working men saw free slaves as a potential threat to job security, much as people see illegal immigrants today, which is why blacks were killed during that riot. But what caused them to riot was the war and the draft. The riots happened in the days following the arrival of casualty lists from the Battle of Gettysburg. But sure, slavery wasn't the major issue for every single American; what it was was the underlying cause. You might as well be asking why pro-Mubarak supporters are showing up in Cairo today. What individual people think or don't think about current events isn't always directly related to causes. Many people of that era (possibly the majority) thought blacks mentally inferior -- even some abolitionists like Ben Franklin thought so. It's not hard to see why, given the few and far-between examples of intelligent blacks they got to see. I've always thought that Frederick Douglass's most important influence was the fact that he showed the people of that era that African Americans could be just as intelligent and analytical as white Americans. Anyway, as with the tariff issue, the underlying cause of the draft riots was the war, and the underlying reason for the war was slavery. Even without the war they might have rioted over a sudden influx of black workers from the South, but had there been no slavery during the 50 years prior (because, say, no cotton gin), society might have been integrated already when Europeans immigrated to the Northeastern states. The Emancipation Proclamation was announced in the fall of 1862, and took effect 7 months before the Battle of Gettysburg. I wonder if you may be referring to the Battle of Antietam. The reason why he waited for that debatable but promotable victory (after telling his cabinet over the summer that he was planning the proclamation) was that he needed the momentum to carry the point over opposition from Democrats. Who, by the way, still managed to pick up 28 seats in the House that fall. Why did Lincoln make such a move knowing it would hurt him with voters? Part of the reason was foreign policy. He knew European nations, dependent on cotton, might eventually come in on the South's side. The proclamation instantly won tremendous support for the North in places like London and Paris. It was a key nail in the South's coffin. But if the proclamation was so unpopular at home then you should be asking yourself why Lincoln won re-nomination and re-election two years later. It took time -- most of 1863 and 1864, while American boys kept dying in staggering numbers -- to turn that opinion around, but it eventually the proclamation gave the war a cause and meaning that was not lost on the people of the North. They weren't the only ones, but what's stunning about the socio-political environment following the Emancipation Proclamation is how little outrage or rebellion there was. He waited so long because he thought it would be his undoing. Turned out the country was pretty much "there" already.
  12. This is actually a synopsis of a modern debate involving the reframing of the context of the American Civil War to make it suit modern political issues. In my opinion the argument is deeply flawed and a misrepresentation of the political landscape of the time. One could just as easily state that the Civil War was the result of "growing pains" from the expansion of the American frontier, or the rise of technology approaching the dawn of the industrial age. The simple fact of the matter is that by 1860 the slavery issue underlay and undermined every other concern facing the country. So important was slavery to the Southern states that they embedded the institution directly into their new nation's constitution. (source) I believe many states' individual constitutions from that period also reflect protections for the institution. The reality is that as the country began to grow, with new states added to the union, the slavery question became divisive because it underlay a power struggle between the existing states as well as providing an ideological platform for slavery proponents and opponents. Each new addition made the situation worse. This went on for decades. The Northwest Ordinance of 1787. The Missouri Compromise in 1820. The Nullification Crisis in 1832. The Wilmot Proviso. The Compromise of 1850. Every single politician in the United States at the time of the war governed within a political environment that had been struggling with slavery as the central issue of American politics for almost their entire lives. Slavery wasn't the issue? Slavery was the ONLY issue. Even the phrase "elephant in the room" doesn't do it justice. There was nothing else on the political landscape that even came close to its level of importance at any time after the 1820s. Nothing.
  13. IMO it's economics, not ideology. According to an ABC News story I saw the other night, over 50% of the populations of many of the Arab states, including Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, are under the age of 25. Unemployment also ranks very high in that age group in those countries. (I didn't spot a ready source for this but I saw a number of blogs quoting the >50% stat.) Only 34% of the US population is under that age, and while their unemployment rate is high at 22% (source), that's still a fairly small portion of the overall population, which faces an unemployment rate of under 10%.
  14. I would think that what Julian Assange thinks (and says) his job is is more important than what Steve Kroft thinks it is.
  15. I don't believe the first sentence of the second quote above (highlighted in bold). I challenge that perception and demand evidence that it is so. I suspect you are wrong -- that as many women go partnerless in our society as men. What I think you're actually saying is that sexually attractive women are choosier than men in general. And that's an obvious case of observer bias. It's not "women's" fault if the cute ones won't sleep with you. What I suspect is the reality is that both men and women participate in voluntary practices that sometimes result in some men AND WOMEN not having partners.
  16. During the interview Assange was also asked about the threat to release all of the documents, unedited, if something were to happen to him. He denied that this was a threat, and then repeated it, acknowledging that imprisonment is one of the criteria that would lead to the release. He also declined describing himself as a journalist, choosing instead the word "activist". He also spent significant time talking about how he has told everyone that 110,000 civilians have died in Iraq. Note that what he's saying is that this is what we're supposed to believe, rather than other figures, such as lower ones reported by the US government, or much higher ones of 600,000, or a million+, reported by various other sources. This is indeed the action of an activist. Everything this man does reeks of anti-establishment activism, not "freedom of information" or "responsible government". His definitions. His rules. His foreign policy preferences. His immigration preferences. His economic preferences. Not yours.
  17. Oof. Pun of the week award!
  18. What was leaked that I need to know about? Or maybe he's just hiding his intentions behind a thin veneer of faux objectivity. And I do mean "thin". In that 60 Minutes interview, one moment he's talking about "staying within the law", focusing on how Wikileaks is not the organization that acquired the documents from the government. The next moment he's supporting Bradley Manning as a "prisoner of conscience", and declaring that the man did nothing wrong, even though he appears to have broken a very serious and important law. You're welcome to think what you like. What I think is that he wants to see the world burn because it isn't doing what he believes is right. He is the king of 21st century antiestablishmentism, invested with the full power of the internet and the crazy, event-driven media machine. Over the long haul, it may work it out that there was a valid and respectable place in history for Julian Assange and his ilk, because of the screwed-up way human beings always manage to stumble ass-backwards into the future. IMO it will depend mainly on how much damage he does versus how much benefit is gained.
  19. Tonight's 60 Minutes featured the most extensive interview of Assange yet. One thing I thought interesting was the open declaration by reporter Steve Kroft, in the introduction to the second segment, that Assange is "a political ideologue with conspiratorial views". A significant portion of the first segment focused on Assange's view that the political impact of the information he holds factors into his decision on what to publish. I think it's time to shelve the notion that Julian Assange just wants information to be free.
  20. I don't know about that "no experience" business. They've been busily importing American culture for decades, so I doubt these concepts are unfamiliar. Religion is a powerful influence but it hasn't stopped every Hollywood star from Jimmy Stewart to George Clooney from pontificating in their living rooms. But I'm not calling for naive hope, I'm pointing out that the world seems little interested in doing anything OTHER than simply hoping for the best.
  21. Well, we could use the leftover biomass for fuel. Switchgrass hasn't exactly worked out, and we need corn for Coca-Cola and Cheetos. Actually that's a nice little industry... trash the organs we have with bad food and thereby improve the market for new ones!
  22. Hm. Well I suppose there is a certain anti-religious character to the familiar debate about morality in the US. The argument usually goes something like "Americans are more prudish than other Western cultures because of the religious history of the country". As with most boilerplate arguments, it has some basis in truth, but of course it fails to reflect the point swansont made above about lack of religion not necessarily leading to promiscuity. Go figure. Anyway, this seems to be the point you're trying to get at: I love socio-political hypocrisies, and all the more so when they make readers uncomfortable, as I expect that one will. Secular-progressives like to think themselves above that sort of thing, even when they reach in to the same toolbox. But in fairness, the side of that movement that focuses on evidence and information (arguably the majority), and not on regulation and deception, deserves recognition for what it seeks. Even if it fails to recognize the softer side of religion and its corresponding benefits.
  23. We can hope that with the aid of modern insight they'll skip right through the pitfalls of majority rule and go right to the recognition of inalienable human rights. I think it's interesting that some view Islam as all peaceful and docile when it comes to treatment under the law, but dangerous and untrustworthy when it comes to deciding its own fate.
  24. Former foreign policy advisor Elliott Abrams has an interesting take on the situation in today's Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/28/AR2011012806833.html The rose-colored-glasses bit about how tragic it is that Obama didn't continue Bush's saintly policy of demanding freedom in the Middle East is completely dismissible, IMO, but I thought this point was interesting: This is very different from most press stories I've read about this, which never seem to quite get around to the question of responsibility and causation aside from half-baked expositions about the power of Twitter and YouTube.
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